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Eco-informatics and data custodians partnering for success

In working towards the vision of a collaborative and multi-disciplinary Australian ecosystem science community, TERN has always placed a strong focus on working closely with its diverse stakeholders and partners around the country.

The value and success of this approach was on show at the third meeting of the Eco-informatics facility’s Data Custodians Reference Group (DCRG) in late April.

Eco-informatics has built and sustained strong relationships with data custodians in State agencies, who make up the DCRG.

The Director of Eco-informatics, Mr Craig Walker, said that, with the Australian Ecological Knowledge and Observation System (ÆKOS) in final testing before its production release in mid-2013, this DCRG meeting was a perfect opportunity for Eco-Informatics’ partners to get a demo of the system.

‘The day also allowed us to demonstrate the approaches we have taken to ingest rich ecological plot data provided by the agencies into the ÆKOS repository and publish it through the ground-breaking data portal,’ Craig says.

‘During the sessions we also introduced our SHaRED tool and ‘Soils to Satellite’ web application, and there was lively discussion feeding back on our products and identifying opportunities for collaboration.’

It was clear to everyone who attended the meeting how critical the strong partnerships between Eco-informatics and State data custodians were for the development of ÆKOS. Indeed, it is thanks to these that when ÆKOS is released it will make available about 25,000 ‘sites’ (known as study locations in ÆKOS) of ecological data that span decades of data-collection efforts – and will have 75,000 more sites in the pipeline. Making this treasure trove of data easy to access will open up new opportunities for researchers – and the State agencies themselves – to discover, access, and explore data in new ways, which will support better understanding and management of Australia’s environments.

‘We really appreciate the engagement of the DCRG reps in the development of ÆKOS, and acknowledge the time and effort they have contributed. Eco-informatics is looking forward to continuing our productive working relationships,’ says Craig.

You can access presentations from the DCRG meeting on ÆKOS, SHaRED and ‘Soils to Satellites’. If you’d like more information about the work of Eco-informatics, contact the facility’s Data Facilitator, Dr Anita Smyth, by email or phone
on (08) 8313 1270.

 

Published in TERN e-Newsletter May 2013

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